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What is disclosure?

Disclosure is a copy of the evidence that the Crown and police have collected to prosecute your case. It is given to you because it is your constitutional right to know the evidence that will be used against you.

Disclosure usually comes in a package that will be given to you by the Crown when you’re standing at the front of the courtroom, after your name has been called. In some courthouses, you may be able to get your disclosure before court starts.

Disclosure will probably look like a package of papers stapled together.

The package usually includes things like:

  • a crown screening form (also called a charge screening form);
  • copies of police officers’ notes;
  • witness statements;
  • photographs, a DVD or an audio CD.

You will usually get your disclosure on your first appearance date. If this doesn’t happen, you will want to let the judge know that you didn’t get your disclosure. You may also get more disclosure if you come back to court for further court dates.

Your disclosure package will also have a written summary of the Crown’s version of the incident that lead to your charge(s). This is called a synopsis. You may or may not agree that things happened the way the synopsis says they did. When looking at your disclosure, it is important to remember that it represents the evidence gathered by the police and it may not include your side of the story.